New Slovak law enshrines in legislation the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050

Barbara Zmušková writes on the EURACTIV website about the new climate law in the Slovak Republic.


Slovak government presents first-ever climate law

The Climate Law, which for the first time officially enshrined in legislation the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, was presented by the Slovakian Environment Ministry on Monday.

The law also sets medium-term goals for reducing emissions at the level of entire states, regions, cities, or businesses.

“It is our first climate law in history. For the first time, we will learn how to adapt the country to the challenges of the 21st century,” said Environment Minister Ján Budaj.

The proposal gives citizens the opportunity to file climate lawsuits against the state in the event that it does not fulfil its obligations in meeting climate goals. The law also creates a Council for the Climate, which will have the authority to control individual ministries in the implementation of climate plans and, if necessary, to impose sanctions on them.

“Most climate policies are not created in our ministry. The goal of this law is to have an impact on other ministries and in some way to voluntarily motivate them to fulfil their sectoral goals,” said Milan Zvara from the Ministry of the Environment.

NGOs welcomed the law because it could “improve climate protection in Slovakia.” However, they have several reservations about it, especially the fact that the emission reduction targets are not sufficient.ň

“We have strong concerns that the decarbonisation goals for individual sectors are not sufficient. It is not clear to us how the analysts calculated them, and in this regard consider it a weak ambition,” said Dana Mareková from the Climate Coalition.

However, NGO representatives also said that the sectoral goals and obligations concern only those areas that are outside the emissions trading system (EU ETS) – i.e. road transport, buildings or agriculture.

For energy and heavy industry, the sectors with the largest emissions, the proposal only sets a general target of reducing emissions by 62% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

The draft law will be available for comments by stakeholders, state institutions, and local authorities. The final version of the legislation must then be approved by the government and subsequently by the parliament.

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